Thursday, June 04, 2009

MILO: The Next Big Thing?

I just saw a video of a upcoming product from Microsoft.  Now, normally a product announcement from Microsoft invites scorn and doubt, but I can't help being fascinated with this one.  It's an addition to the XBOX 360 game console, and works with the new "NATAL" system, which allows the system to be used without game controllers.  According to the demos, the system will simply recognize your body as it moves and behave accordingly. It also has a voice recognition  feature that is advanced enough to respond quickly and accurately.  Does it work?  time will tell - but even if this is five years down the road (they claim it's about a year to eighteen months out....but that's Microsoft), it's extraordinary.  So far, it seems like an exciting improvement on the Nintendo Wii.  If that's all it was, I wouldn't bother writing here about it (notice how long it's been since my last entry).

THIS is the reason I'm excited:

If this can work as shown - this will not only change the nature of gaming, but of entertainment as well.  This might seem a bit creepy as first (one of the common descriptions of Milo, by the way), but what he (it!) represents is mind-exapnding.

Interacting with sophisticated artificial intelligence like this opens up so many new avenues, the list is nearly endless.  

Imagine an immersive version of the "Sims" games, in which you interact directly with Sims - not in the nonsense language of the game, but in plain English! 

Imagine kids questioning Julius Caeser as he stands in the Forum in Rome, or George Washington, or, for that matter, Martin Luther King.  History will (almost) come alive as a classroom - or an individual student - develops a personal relationship with historical figures.

Instead of simply watching a horror movie, imagine interacting with the characters in the production.  Say hello to Hannibal Lector!

I look forward to seeing the progress of this technology. As the saying goes, "it could change everything."

Other related links:

Project NATAL:

Live Demo at E3:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is extremely creepy. We soon won't have the need for real people any more. I can envision a student playing hooky and having his Avatar video conference with the teacher for him.